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From extinct Yangtze River dolphin to artificially bred finless porpoise

(People's Daily Online)    17:04, September 14, 2018

A baby finless porpoise and its mother.

The second artificially bred finless porpoise F7C celebrated its first 100 days on Sept. 10, at a research hydrobiology institute in central China’s Wuhan, xinhuanet.com reported on Tuesday.

The Yangtze finless porpoise is now the only freshwater dolphin in the Yangtze River, after the world’s last known captive Yangtze River dolphin Qiqi died in 2002, leading experts to conclude the extinction of the species.

Fishermen caught Qiqi in 1980, after which the dolphin spent more than two decades in an artificial breeding program under the Institute of Hydrobiology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, leaving a wealth of information for dolphin research and protection.

Early in 1986, there were fewer than 300 Yangtze River dolphins on earth, making it a critically endangered species. They were assumed functionally extinct until 2006 when large-scale scientific research found no traces of the rare species.

From 1986, scientists from the Institute kept proposing a protection strategy that combined in-situ and ex-situ conservation and artificial breeding.

Associate researcher Hao Yujiang said that the original research undertaken on the Yangtze River dolphin provided a basis for advanced porpoise protection.

Now, the population of endangered finless porpoises living in the wild has reached 1,012, according to the latest 2017 survey data, achieving the short-term goal of curbing rapid species decline.

The researchers said that protecting finless porpoises from the same fate as the Yangtze River dolphin remains their ultimate goal.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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